To build a successful eCommerce brand that people will love, you need to make them feel a connection with it. Today, when new brands are popping up every week and great products are going viral on social media every day, your eCommerce company will struggle to survive if you don’t build that connection.
By failing to create a meaningful connection with the target audience, a brand makes it difficult for people to fall in love with it and ultimately, convert into loyal customers. So avoiding storytelling is a risky strategy because up to 92 per cent of customers want brands to make their marketing materials feel like a story, according to the Digital Marketing Institute.
Since social media is extremely popular, connecting with customers and sharing stories via this channel makes perfect sense. But with thousands of posts created by users and brands every day (for example, Facebook generates 4 petabytes – that’s 4,000 terabytes – of data each day), you can’t simply broadcast an advertisement, because it won’t capture people’s attention.
To avoid getting your content lost in a sea of posts and drive action from your target audience, you need emotional content. And this is where storytelling comes in.
Storytelling for branding is a marketing communication strategy that involves using original, emotional stories by a company to encourage customer loyalty and increase followership.
Here’s how eCommerce marketers use this strategy to leverage emotion and draw connections between brands and customers.
- Research Target Customers
Before including storytelling content in your social media branding strategy, you need to prepare by learning what kind of stories your target audiences would appreciate. To achieve that, you need to research them and get as many details as you possibly can.
- What are their interests?
- How do they prefer getting information from brands?
- What situations can they relate to?
Continue asking questions like these until you have a perfect vision of your ideal customer in mind. When you do, the answers will help to define how your brand’s solution can be a great one for simplifying the lives of your customers or helping them solve a problem.
This information will also guide the creation of the brand story. Whatever story you choose to share, it must have a human element that your customers can easily identify with.
- Respect the Essentials of a Good Story
In order for your story to attract the attention of your target audience and help you build meaningful connections with them, you must get the fundamentals right.
According to them, a good story has three parts:
- Beginning: a compelling description of the characters in the story
- Middle: a description of the problems that the characters are facing
- End: show how the characters’ lives have improved after solving the problems.
- Create Characters Your Customers Can Relate to
One of the best ways to evoke the emotions you want from your customers is to create likeable, everyday characters and have them face problems that the target customers face on a daily basis.
Dove is without a doubt a great example of a brand that creates likeable, down-to-earth content that illustrates everyday problems of being an average person (think the “Real Beauty” campaign that won numerous awards).
That campaign succeeded because it had stories and characters your target audience can emotionally connect to, so you should also consider using characters that represent your ideal customers.
- Build a Good Plot
Writing a plot for your brand storytelling content is critical because the art of telling stories is all about having a well thought-out plot. Here are the most important things to keep in mind when writing a plot:
- Make the brand promise and benefit – what the customers expect in the interaction with your brand and what they get out of it – clear by showing how they can improve their lives by using the brand’s product/service
- Think of your plot as a storyboard
- Have a positive emotional note at the conclusion
- Make sure that the flow of ideas is logical
- Be Authentic
People hate being sold to, so your campaign is likely to fail if it doesn’t feature honest and accurate values. To maximize the chance of success, you need authentic content with minimal production that may not be perfect but realistically portrays the mission your brand is after.
One of the best examples of honest storytelling is a video that Adidas made with a well-known soccer player Lionel Messi where he talks about a problem with growth hormones that he had while growing up.
- Focus Your Message on Emotions
Does your brand/product/service bring people positive feelings? In your story, show how customers achieved a task before they had encountered your brand and how they felt. Then, describe the difference in their experiences after they’ve used your product/service and focus on positive emotions expressed by the characters.
- Use Visuals
Storytelling without original visuals is a very bad idea because the main idea behind the concept is authenticity. The visuals help businesses reinforce the message conveyed by other content types and provide that additional support needed to help viewers connect with the story.
There are many online tools that businesses use to create visuals, including:
- Canva: create images, infographics, reports, presentations, and other types of content
- Facebook Live: Create live videos from events that matter to you and your brand
- Pixlr: An app for image editing that let you create stunning images for your storytelling
The world of eCommerce is highly competitive, so storytelling could be a great way to stand out from the crowd. As you can see, getting your storytelling content ready will take some effort, but keep in mind that if you do this right, you can strengthen your brand, make it easier for people to trust you, and, of course, drive sales.